The Prime Minister’s focus on making cities greener and more efficient is welcome, but funding for the initiative should be additional, not taken from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s purse, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

PM Malcolm Turnbull today announced a Sustainable Cities Investment Fund to improve transport management systems, invest in renewable energy projects and help make public housing more energy efficient.

“ACF welcomes the Prime Minister’s recognition that Australia needs to do something about our climate pollution levels and that cities must be part of this effort,” said ACF’s climate change program manager Victoria McKenzie-McHarg.

“Australia’s big cities remain dominated by cars, so there is a great need to bring our public transport systems into the 21st century.

“While the focus on sustainable cities is welcome, the government should put new money into this, not keep raiding the renewable energy fund to pay for it.”

ACF also welcomed the government’s additional $50 million Smart Cities & Suburbs program, which will help local governments apply innovative technology solutions working with third parties including businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

“This policy could help unlock clean technology and local solutions like ride sharing services, electric vehicles, energy efficiency upgrades for low income communities and solar programs for renters,” Ms McKenzie-McHarg said.

“It’s not right to rob the renewable energy fund to pay for cleaner cities. It’s not as though Australia needs either clean energy or healthy liveable cities – we need both.”

Last week the Coalition announced funding to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef and support clean energy projects in the reef catchment region – also with money taken from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s $10 billion special account.

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